Child Support

The Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 provides for the Child Support Agency (CSA) to calculate an administrative assessment of child support, an amount payable using the child support formula in Part 5 of the Assessment Act. The formula takes into account the number of children for whom child support is payable, the income of both parents, and whether the liable parent (the ‘payer’) has any relevant dependent children living with them.

We can assist you with:

  • Providing you with an estimate of child support payable using the above formula;
  • Assisting you with your application including applications for a change of assessment based on additional circumstances;
  • Assisting you with challenging an assessment or appealing an assessment administratively.

Departure Orders

Parents with a child support assessment can apply to a court for a departure from their assessment. The court can make a departure order if one of the legislated grounds for departure exists and it would be just, equitable and otherwise proper to do so. A person’s right to apply to court for a departure order is usually dependent upon one or both parents having previously applied to the child support agency for a change of assessment and objection to the decision unless the parents are a party to proceedings before the Family or Federal Circuit Court and the court is satisfied that it would be in the parties’ interests to consider the matters together.

Child Support Agreements

Parents can make a written child support agreement called a Binding Child Support Agreement or Limited Child Support Agreement varying the rate of child support payable under as assessment. The most common reasons for doing so are:

  • Increasing the amount of support payable;
  • Providing for one lump sum payment of child support from a property settlement in lieu of ongoing payments;
  • Reducing the amount of support payable to Nil;
  • Provision of payment for private school fees;
  • Payment of additional expenses such as extra-curricular activities;
  • Payment of private health insurance and medical expenses.

An agreement will usually need to be written up by a solicitor as both parties will need to obtain independent legal advice for the agreement to be binding. The parties can then apply to CSA for that agreement to be accepted and recorded on their file. If the CSA accepts the agreement, it will amend the existing assessment to take into account relevant provisions.